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  • Neil Lennon: We have chance to show we deserve to be on Euro stage

    Neil Lennon: We have chance to show we deserve to be on Euro stage

    By: Tony Connelly on 13 Aug, 2019 10:01

  • NEIL Lennon said that the UEFA Champions League qualifying tie against CFR Cluj is the opportunity for his side to show they are worthy of playing on the big European stage.

    Celtic face the Romanian champions in Glasgow tonight (Tuesday) in the second leg of their third qualifying round tie, and come into the game with an all-important away goal thanks to James Forrest’s wonderful equaliser in Romania last Wednesday.

    The Celtic manager said the first leg has given him an insight into what to expect for tonight’s game and added the fixture was an opportunity for his players to continue showing that they deserved to be in the group stages of the Champions League.

    “Cluj are a big strong team and have good pace in certain areas," he said. "They’re direct and a threat at set-pieces. I don’t think they’re going to be over physical. The game wasn’t in Romania. There was plenty in the first game to suggest we can hurt Cluj in certain areas and that’s what we’ll be trying to do.

    “You can’t look too far ahead. It’s important and it can flip very quickly. I’d love for us to be on the big European stage. It’s good gravitas for the club but we have to earn the right to be there. Cluj will be hungry and we have to match that hunger, earn the right to play and really play with a purposefulness.”

    With an away goal, Celtic have a good footing going into tonight’s game, but Venezuelan forward Mario Rondon’s goal will serve as a stark reminder of the pitfalls Celtic must avoid in order to progress.

    Celtic have come from behind against Sarajevo, Motherwell and Cluj in recent weeks, which has served to highlight the mentality of the team, but Neil Lennon said his side cannot afford to give their opponents an away goal tonight.

    “Ideally, you don’t want to concede first but the reaction, even in Sarajevo, has been very good,” he said. “However, we know it’s important that we don’t concede tonight at any stage. Hopefully we can keep a clean sheet and we know we’ll go through if we do that.

    “We’re looking forward to another big European night at home in front of a good crowd with a good atmosphere that the players can feed off.”

    Celtic's vital Euro tie v CFR Cluj tonight is LIVE WORLDWIDE on Celtic TV including UK & Ireland. To subscribe CLICK HERE

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